Splashing out on an overseas trip might seem like a fabulous way to spend a holiday but many South Africans forget that we’ve got so much beauty, culture and more to explore here in our own country as well. That’s right, exploring South Africa isn’t only reserved for overseas visitors! And, the great news is, you don’t have to wait for summer to go on holiday as there are many places in South Africa that thrive as holiday destinations during the cooler months. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our ultimate South African travel bucket list below.

The Otter Trail – The Garden Route

Otter Trail

If you love the great outdoors then there’s no doubt that The Otter Trail should be added to your bucket list! Head down to The Garden Route to experience this breathtakingly beautiful hiking trail. One of the most popular hiking trails in South Africa, The Otter Trail is 43km long and takes five days to complete. Starting at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp and ending at the Groot River estuary at Nature’s Valley, hikers spend their days taking in beautiful views and breathing in the fresh sea air – it’s the ultimate way to get away from it all!

Click here for more information.

The St Lucia Estuary – Kwazulu-Natal

St Lucia Estuary

The St Lucia estuary is filled with some of the most dangerous animals in South Africa. Within the estuary lies the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, on the east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, a swamp that gives avid travelers the opportunity to be close to crocodiles, hippos and bull sharks. The region also contains the highest vegetated dunes in the world and an abundance of waterfowl, grassland, forest and sea birds attract birdwatchers from around the world. Accommodation is provided at St Lucia Estuary in three camping and caravanning grounds.

Click here for more information.

Oribi Gorge – Kwazulu-Natal

Orbi Gorge

Image by: Rudi van Wyk.-

Some 120km south of Durban, the Oribi Gorge offers an exhilarating yet wonderfully scenic experience. At 165 metres (55 stories) high, the spot is one of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s most spectacular natural settings. A visit to this spectacular area is a sure way to get even the most avid thrill-seekers’ blood pumping. Visitors can camp at designated camping spots in the area.

Click here for more information.

The Blyde River Canyon – Mpumalanga

Blyde River Canyon

Experience mountains, forests and one of the world’s largest canyons – The Blyde River Canyon – by driving South Africa’s famous Panorama Route in Mpumalanga. This route is not only favoured for its access to the canyon but also the picturesque and pleasurable drive. From Sabie to the Mac Mac River, there’s plenty to keep the trip from getting dull. This beautiful canyon is part of the Drakensberg escarpment and is 25 kilometres long and around 750 metres deep! The canyon consists mostly of red sandstone and is a truly breathtaking sight to see.

Click here for more information. 

The Blue Train – Johannesburg, Cape Town

Blue Train

Describe as a “five-star hotel on wheels”, the Blue Train offers its passengers the experience of a lifetime. Departing from Pretoria or Cape Town, the Blue Train takes a 31-hour journey through some of the most spectacular scenery offered in Africa, covering an expanse of 1600 km, from the City of Gold to the Mother City. With guaranteed views of breathtaking scenery, luxury, and butler service, this is a magnificent moving hotel fit for a king.

Click here for more information. 

Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park – Kwazulu Natal

Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park - Kwazulu Natal

Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. It consists of 960 km² of hilly topography 280 kilometres and is located north of Durban in central Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal. The reserve is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts and is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where each of the big five game animals can be found. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world.

Click here for more information. 

The Cango Caves – Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

Cango Caves

For something more low-key, head to the foot of the Swartberg range, just 30km outside of Outshoorn in the Western Cape, to the Cango Caves. With an extensive system of chambers stretching to about four kilometres, these beautiful caves are some of the most popular tourist caves in the country.  An immediate rush of humidity will hit upon entering the cave, but you’ll seen forget about that once you see the many clusters of dripstone formations and illuminated chambers.

Click here for more information. 

Route 62 – Western Cape

Route 62

This scenic route is an alternative to the N2 and stretches from Worcester, along the Breede River Valley, through Robertson, Ashton and Montagu, the Klein Karoo landmark towns, and then through to George. This route is home to the longest wine route in the world and along the way you will be treated to some of the most beautiuful mountain passes, and green valleys. Of course, Route 62 is also home to the famous Ronny’s Sex Shop – a quirky road-side cafe with plenty of charm!

The Cedarberg – Western Cape

Cedarberg

This breathtakingly beautiful part of the world with its aroma of buchu, rooibos tea and Cederwood will have your mesmorised for weeks after your visit. The crystal clear waters of the mountain streams, the orange and yellow hues of the mountain, and the wide array of birdlife makes a visit to the Cedarberg unlike any other. Visit in summer and take advantage of the hiking and mountain bike trails or pop over in winter to play in the snow!

Click here for more information.

Kruger National Park – Limpopo

Kruger

Of course, no South African travel list would be complete with The Kruger National Park! The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

Click here for more information. 

Thanks to Cheapflights.co.za for the inspiration for this article – now that you’re inspired to travel you can check out Cheapflights.co.za for loads of great deals on flights to any province in South Africa.